Remember Ruby Tandoh? No? Let me remind you…
Since the Great British Bake Off she’s created recipes, appeared in interviews, and now has a brand new book on the shelves – ‘Eat Up’. I recently picked it up not sure what to expect, just excited to read a book all about my favourite thing, i.e. eating. I definitely didn’t expect it to resonate so deeply.
I’ve always felt, when it comes to food, I can’t be myself. That sounds kinda stupid, right? How can lunch have anything to do with personality? For me, it does. I REALLY love food. I love healthy, nutritious, home-cooked meals, but I also love junk food and takeaways too. This conflict often leaves my brain surrounded by a constant fuzz of what I “should” or “shouldn’t” eat every time it comes to choosing a meal and, especially as a bigger girl, it feels like I’m not always allowed to choose what I actually want. When my thinner friends scoff their face with McDonald’s it’s totally fine, because they’re slim. No-one judges. They’re allowed.
Ruby is a self-confessed slim girl, but she’s the first one who has ever made me feel like we’re on the same team. All my life I’ve felt like I’m on a different planet to thin people. For the first time, when I read the excerpt below, I could’ve cried with relief. Finally, someone was giving me the right to eat what I wanted, same as everyone else.
Comfort eating can be a minefield. No, it’s probably not ideal to eat four Mars Bars on the trot and no-one’s saying that’s a good idea. But, shock horror, fellow comfort eaters and I (I’m for sure a comfort eater!) are NOT uncontrollable animals who stuff our faces wildly every time we feel worried, sad or stressed. The simple fact is that we can control food. I might not be able to stop my rent going up, or my car breaking down, or my train being late, but I can sure as hell choose to eat a delicious Mars Bar at the end of a crappy day! Ruby’s book understands that comfort eating is more than just getting greedy whenever emotions come into play.
Food is universal; it’s part of all our lives. I’ve always envied those who see food as nothing more than fuel because, for me, it’s so much bigger than that. It’s exciting. It’s consuming. It gives MY life colour; salt and spices dancing on my tongue, juices and sauce bursting in my mouth, teeth tearing into texture after texture… I live for this stuff. To attach stress and anxiety to food is easy, but in return it dulls my own life. It dampens vibrancy. I’ve had a difficult relationship with food since forever, that’s still a work in progress but at least this book made me question that relationship in a healthy way.
If you’ve ever felt like your eating habits are dictated by others – by society or stereotypes – because of your size, gender, race, class, lifestyle, or whatever, rather than what you actually WANT TO EAT, then this is the book for you.